Although the latest survey by the Italian Federation of Scientific Sexology (FISS) reveals that only 56.61% of Italians use it regularly, the condom is by far the most used device as a method of contraception and protection from the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. While the purchase is very simple (in pharmacies, supermarkets, vending machines, on websites) it is important, especially for the most inexperienced, to choose the right model for their needs in an offer that has become disorienting. And this is because today the condom is no longer only designed as a protective barrier, but also as a sexual stimulus for the couple. We talked about it with Dr. Alessandro Pizzocaro, andrologist at Humanitas.
The only real protection to sexually transmitted diseases
The condom is the only barrier that protects against sexually transmitted diseases, which affect 376 million people every year. The most common ones are chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and syphilis. These are more than 1 million new cases per day involving people between the ages of 15 and 49. This is what was reported in the World Health Organization’s bulletin, which clarified the symptoms to be looked after, including genital injury, urethral or vaginal discharge, pain during urination and, in women, bleeding between one menstrual cycle and another. However, most cases are asymptomatic, which means that people may not be aware that they have an infection before testing.
If untreated, sexually transmitted diseases can become chronic disorders that affect the health of individuals by promoting the development of neurological and cardiovascular diseases, leading to infertility, extrauterine pregnancies, stillborn babies and increased risk of HIV.
The appropriate condom
Having said that the preservative is made of a thin waterproof and elastic sheath, generally made of latex with lubricants inside, they are used to avoid irritation and pain to the man during penetration. In some subjects, both men and women, latex can cause allergic reactions. The alternative is represented by hypoallergenic polyurethane preservative. Once you have chosen the material and size of the preservative, you will be spoilt for choice among the different types on the market: from preservative with a higher level of lubrication to the so-called “easy-fit”, anatomical and very easy to wear, from super-thin preservative (which give the feeling of not wearing anything) to flavored or colored preservative.
Keeping your condom at its best
Do not keep the condom in the back pockets of your trousers, wallet or in the glove compartment of your car. Rather, they should be stored in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight. The preservatives must be kept in the case until they are used and, before they are purchased, the expiry date indicated on the box must be checked. Never use a condom after its expiration date, as it may tear and, therefore, not protect. And even better, do not open it until you are ready to use it, nor should you recycle a used condom.
How do I put the condom on?
The basic rule that should never be forgotten is: wear a condom before every intercourse. After carefully opening the aluminium casing and understanding in which direction the condom was rolled up, make sure that the tank points outside the end of the condom. The condom must be worn in such a way that it always wraps around the penis very tightly, without leaving any loose areas. An important precaution is to “pinch” the entire reservoir on the tip of the condom to avoid creating an air pocket once worn. The condom should only be inserted when the penis is already erect.
“I remember that the use of condoms is currently the only effective remedy in protecting against sexually transmitted diseases and therefore it is very important to raise awareness of their use, especially in adolescents in schools – added the specialist -. Unfortunately, prevention campaigns are still insufficient and it should be the responsibility of every doctor and institutions to stimulate the spread of sexually transmitted diseases are still growing and very little is said about them”.